Category: Guest Blogs

Alumni Guest Blog: Su Zhou, ’15 MS Business Analytics

The following blog post was written by Su Zhou, a 2015 graduate of the MS in Business Analytics program and assurance associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City. 

There is a Chinese proverb: “Better to step back and make a net than to stand by the pond and long for a fish.” As part of my job as an assurance associate at PwC in New York, I face the daily challenge of analyzing a large volume of financial data and spotting anomalies in order to make informed decisions. Complex data structures have increased at such a rapid pace that it has made the traditional, “back-of-envelope” calculation method obsolete. With only an accounting background from under graduate school, I realized that an advanced degree in data analytics might be crucial to my career in order for me to catch that “big fish.”

Su Zhou, '15 MS Business Analytics

Su Zhou, ’15 MS Business Analytics

At the time that I applied, few top tier schools offered Business Analytics programs. Simon’s one-year MS program builds on its tradition of creating a strong quantitative foundation for its students. My favorite class at Simon was Advanced Business Modeling with Professor Vera Tilson. In this class, Professor Tilson taught us how to simplify complicated real world problems into clear and concise models and how to use Excel Solver to identify efficient solutions. Just like any other Simon class, the goal is never memorizing a formula, but instead building a strong connection between theory and practice. Coming to business school with full-time work experience, I had a special appreciation for this approach.

My most memorable time at Simon was the winter quarter when I worked full time during the busy season at PwC in New York and flew twice a week to Rochester for classes. I also kept my job as a graduate assistant at the Simon Admissions Office during the weekend while passing my last part of the CPA exam. Looking back at those three months, I grew a profound appreciation of the Simon spirit “Toughen Up” which resonated with me when I first laid my eyes on the program. It is a common trait I notice on all of my classmates who successfully land an offer: Stick-to-itiveness when facing a strong head wind in today’s competitive job market.

It is merely wishful thinking to expect to learn everything about a field with one year of study or to have a dream job delivered to your doorstep in a gift basket simply because you send one résumé. It sometimes takes much trial and error to move one step ahead, but with a Simon education, we are way ahead of our peers as long as we have the right attitude. Simon empowers its students with not only a vast body of knowledge that provides a pathway to further career advancement but also a strong belief that with determination and perseverance, they can achieve any goal that was once considered formidable.

Simon attracts the most talented and most ambitious future leaders. For anyone considering a graduate program, it is an investment that bears a fruitful payout. Simon is not a destination but a starting point where we embark upon a wonderful journey for years to come. If I could go back in time to last spring, I would choose Simon again in a heartbeat.

I came to Simon for one fish, but instead, I was taught how to cast a net.

To learn more about Simon’s Business Analytics program, attend our MS in Business Analytics Information Session at 9 a.m. EST on Jan. 13, 2016. A member from the Simon Admissions Team will facilitate a panel discussion with faculty advisors of the MS in Business Analytics Program and a current Business Analytics student. During this interactive webinar you will learn about the program structure, course offerings, and career outcomes. You may submit a question when you register for the webinar, and we will also facilitate a Q&A session during the live session. This webinar is free, but pre-registration is required.

Get to Know Simon Vision Consultants

The following blog post was written by Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015. Albert is now working as a senior business operations analyst at Home Depot.

The Simon Business School experience is characterized by a myriad of opportunities, including access to top-tier faculty, exposure to trends and shifts in a variety of industries, and various clubs that allow students to develop a customized approach to personal and professional growth. When our first classes started two years ago, I had a minimal amount of project management experience and aimed to address that deficiency immediately. The advisors in our Career Management Center suggested I look into the Simon Vision Consultants (otherwise referred to as Vision) as a potential avenue for improving my profile, so I decided to look into the club.

Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015

Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015

Vision provides a few different ways students can gain additional real-world experience while at Simon. The primary mission of the club is to connect local businesses and entrepreneurs with talented Simon students who can help them understand and address business problems. A Simon student project manager meets with a client each quarter to brainstorm a rough project plan, then recruits a team of three to five Simon classmates to work on the project to completion (usually a two month process). Our students have provided high-value deliverables in marketing research, pricing policies, social media initiatives, sales strategies, and company valuations.

One aspect of Vision that students find very refreshing is that they serve as the majority of the organization’s guidance. The student leadership team is free to implement new policies in order to foster higher levels of client satisfaction and student engagement each year. This year, we partnered with Simon’s Net Impact club, which opened opportunities to work with more socially-focused businesses and to engage a more diverse set of students. The partnership helped with an initiative to double the number of projects Vision took on compared to the previous academic year.

My experience with Vision has been incredibly valuable and eye-opening. As a past project manager, I was able to work with a team that took a deep look into the problems that a not-for-profit business faced, and to explore well thought-out strategies for addressing those issues. As former president of the organization, I had to recruit the right students to help take the club to the next level. Along the way, I was able to improve my communication, time management, delegation, networking, conflict management, and business development skills far beyond what I had initially hoped. Vision gave me the platform I needed to effectively supplement my MBA training, and ultimately, become a more marketable asset, which is exactly what I needed to accomplish while at Simon.

Fall Fun in Rochester

The following blog post was written by Isaac Goodling, 2016 MBA Candidate

If you know someone from Upstate New York, there is a good chance that you have heard them refer to the pleasure of having “all four seasons.” While this is admittedly a bit clichéd, it does not make it any less true – particularly when the fall season hits Rochester. Marked by crisp, cool nights and warm, sunny days, fall combines the natural beauty of the leaves changing with an unparalleled array of fun activities in the area. Here are just a few activities you might want to check out this fall season:

River Campus, University of Rochester

River Campus, University of Rochester

  • If this is your first year in the Northeast, the Fall Sky Rides at Bristol Mountain is a must-see. The Comet Express chairlift offers a 20-minute ride to the summit of Bristol Mountain, where you can take in outstanding views of Bristol Hills and fall foliage.
  • Rochester is known as the “Festival City,” and festival season continues through October with the Chestnut Festival at Goose Watch Winery (October 17). The free event includes food and drinks, live music and lawn games.
  • Upstate New York is well known for growing apples, and the Rochester region is no exception. There are many local options to pick your own produce: G and S Orchards offers apples, pumpkins and strawberries in the fall, while Stokoe Farms offers a truly unique Western New York experience with their Buffalo Bills corn maze!
  • If you prefer your apples in liquid form, check out the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken, New York. Featuring live music every Friday night, the Cider House carries an array of ciders (hard and otherwise) from five breweries in the Finger Lakes, as well as food prepared exclusively from locally-sourced ingredients.

As a student it can be easy to get caught up in the “Simon bubble” of schoolwork and job searching, but it is important to get out and explore all that the area has to offer. Enjoy the fall season!

My Experience with The Consortium and OP

The following blog post was written by Alonso Moreno, 2017 MBA Candidate

It’s hard not to feel some level of intimidation when going into an MBA program – especially if you’re a member of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, where my peers are about half of the country’s top minority MBA talent! If you’re not familiar, The Consortium is an organization whose mission is to reduce the underrepresentation of African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans in education and business. The University of Rochester is one of 18 member schools that make up The Consortium – in fact, I’m proud to say that the University of Rochester is one of the organization’s founding members.

The Consortium kicks-off each year with an Orientation Program (also called OP) where first-year students attend a series of seminars and workshops to jumpstart their career development. Students also have the opportunity to network with various corporations and interview for internships. As you can imagine, OP is one of the greatest perks of The Consortium and students have to be prepared!

facebookBeginning my preparation for OP, I had all the confidence in the world because the Simon staff involved were nothing short of encouraging and helpful. My prep included: fine-tuning my resume, practicing my pitch, and conducting company research. I was fortunate enough to work one-on-one with Kelly Gibbon, Director of Career Management at Simon’s Career Management Center (CMC). Although there were many more individuals who ultimately played a role in my experience at OP, Kelly was my first point of contact for OP preparation. She was always available to answer questions via e-mail, schedule times to talk or even just review some of my materials. Without her help, my time leading up to OP would have been a lot more stressful and wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.

Upon joining Simon through The Consortium, I heard of the great network and support I’d gain by joining the school. I don’t think I came to fully appreciate what this meant until OP. The staff, student liaisons, alumni, and fellow classmates from Simon were all there to help each other. With their guidance and recommendations, I was able to further build my confidence. If there’s one piece of advice I have for an incoming MBA candidate: work on your personal pitch. It’s important to be able to articulate your professional experiences and accomplishments into concise points. This is what made networking with recruiters and having interviews at OP so much easier, and the reason why I can truly call OP a success.

While The Consortium program at Simon may not be the biggest compared to other schools, the level of support from staff, alumni and student liaisons was unmatched at OP. All the individuals I had the privilege to meet and work with, including my fellow classmates, helped create a close-knit atmosphere. The relationships created at OP made it that much easier to be successful during my time at Simon. I gained all of this even before sitting for my first class at Simon! I can only look forward to what the next two years have in store.

Are you interested in applying to graduate business school through The Consortium? If so, the process is simple. Especially if you plan to apply to multiple members schools because it will save you both time and money!

The first things to keep in mind are the deadlines: Round 1 is October 15, 2015 and Round 2 is January 5, 2016. No matter which deadline you target, you are encouraged to start the application early so you know what materials are needed to successfully complete your application. The Consortium does a great job on their website of detailing the application process, but there are some “common” pieces to the application that will be used by all schools: GMAT or GRE scores, transcript(s), resume, core essay #1, the optional essay, along with your general application information. There is also a school-specific essay that you will need to complete that only Simon will receive, as well as a core essay on your commitment to the mission of The Consortium that the schools will not see. The “ranking” of schools on The Consortium application can sometimes be confusing so it is recommended that you speak with a Consortium staff member or Simon Admissions to fully understand what implications the rankings might have.

If you have questions, contact the Simon Admissions Office at or (585) 275-3533. You can also read more about The Consortium at or on Simon’s website.